Marks & Spencer On Track As First-Quarter Revenue Rises
12 July, 2017, 00:43 | Author: Franklin Nunez
In the three months to 1 July, the retailer's food segment posted a 0.1% year-on-year dip in like-for-like sales, while the clothing and home division recorded a 1.2% drop compared with last year. "Trading on a FY2018F PER of 11.5x and an EV/EBITDA multiple of 5.6x, with a dividend yield of 5.7% (1.5x covered by EPS and assuming an unchanged pay-out year-on-year), we reiterate our HOLD stance".
The group started its summer sale on Tuesday this week, with "significantly" less stock to discount. On a total basis, food sales saw a 4.5 per cent jump to £1.4 billion. "Overall, the sales numbers are modestly below expectations but the commentary is reasonably encouraging with new Simply Food stores performing well and the increase in full price clothing sales sounding positive for profit implications". Fellow clothing retailers Next plc (LON:NXT) and Debenhams plc (LON:DEB) have both warned of market volatility as consumers feel the pinch of rising inflation and week wage growth.
"Partnerships & Regeneration continues to enhance its position to benefit from the demand for affordable housing, while Construction's margin is expected to increase as we close out legacy positions", the company said.
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As part of Rowe's strategy to resuscitate the clothing and home business, he has made changes to management and invested in improving the quality of items while lowering prices to lure in customers.
Rowe has also tried to lift food sales by opening extra Simply Food stores, expanding its products range and delivering more promotions.
The immediate market reaction has been to sell M&S shares on the back of this news, and the share price continues to linger below the 20-day moving average, which is a bearish sign.
Mr Rowe said: "Trading in the first quarter was in line with our expectations and we are on track with delivery of the plan we announced previous year".
Rowe added full price sales were up by approximately 7% in the home and fashion division, as the retailer reduced the number of promotions and there was no clearance sale in the quarter compared with one a year ago. "The unexpected drop in sales for their sturdy food division could also be one of the catalysts that has got traders spooked".
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